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Positive wild animal welfare

Browning, Heather ORCID: 0000-0003-1554-7052 and Veit, Walter (2023) Positive wild animal welfare. Biology and Philosophy, 38 (2). ISSN 0169-3867

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10539-023-09901-5


With increasing attention given to wild animal welfare and ethics, it has become common to depict animals in the wild as existing in a state dominated by suffering. This assumption is now taken on board by many and frames much of the current discussion; but needs a more critical assessment, both theoretically and empirically. In this paper, we challenge the primary lines of evidence employed in support of wild animal suffering, to provide an alternative picture in which wild animals may often have lives that are far more positive than is commonly assumed. Nevertheless, while it is useful to have an alternative model to challenge unexamined assumptions, our real emphasis in this paper is the need for the development of effective methods for applying animal welfare science in the wild, including new means of data collection, the ability to determine the extent and scope of welfare challenges and opportunities, and their effects on welfare. Until such methods are developed, discussions of wild animal welfare cannot go beyond trading of intuitions, which as we show here can just as easily go in either direction.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2023 23:22
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 20:48

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